Authorities calling Buffalo mass shooting a hate crime and ‘racially motivated violent extremism’

BUFFALO, New York — A gunman opened fire with a rifle Saturday at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what authorities called a “hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism,” killing 10 people and wounding three others before being taken into custody , law enforcement officials said.

The suspect was identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo in New York state. He was arraigned Saturday on one count of first degree murder and was ordered held wthout bail per the Erie County DA.

Officials said 11 of the victims are Black and two are white. The shooting happened in a predominantly Black neighborhood a few miles (kilometers) north of downtown Buffalo.

WATCH | Officials hold update on Buffalo shooting

Witnesses reported the gunman was wearing military-style clothing in addition to the body armor, one of the officials said

Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter was exiting. They described him as a white male in his late teens or early twenties sporting full camo, a black helmet and what appeared to be a rifle.

“He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?” Kephart said. He dropped to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.”

Police closed off the block, lined by spectators, and yellow police taped surrounded the full parking lot. Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz were at the scene late Saturday afternoon, gathered in a parking lot across the street from the Tops store and expected to address the media.
More than two hours of the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews was waiting outside the store, behind the police tape.

“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was in there with her fiance, they separated and went to different aisles,” she said. “A bullet barely missed him. He was able to hide in a freezer but he was not able to get to my aunt and does not know where she is. We just would like word either way if she’s OK.”

Govt. Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was “closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo,” her hometown. She said state officials have offered help to local authorities. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office said on social media that it ordered all available personnel to assist Buffalo police.

“The President has been briefed by his Homeland Security Advisor on the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY this afternoon. He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as further information develops. The President and the First Lady are praying for those who have been lost and for their loved ones.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden had been briefed on the shooting.

“The President has been briefed by his Homeland Security Advisor on the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY this afternoon. He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as further information develops. The President and the First Lady are praying for those who have been lost and for their loved ones.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesperson Anthony Coley said.

The shooting came little more than a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information about why they believe the man charged in that attack targeted the supermarket.

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